Challenger Flies at Bald Eagle Delisting Ceremony


Bald Eagle Delisting ceremony in 2007. L-R: Cecere, Founder & President of the American Eagle Foundation; Challenger; Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. The removal of the bald eagle from the “threatened and endangered” species list was announced by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne on June 28, 2007.The Bald Eagle is now a protected species in the lower 48 states. The banning of DDT, strict protection laws, the work of conservationists and environmentalists, and the efforts of organizations like the American Eagle Foundation have all contributed to the recovery of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states. They’ve made an amazing comeback from an estimated 417 nesting pairs in the early 60s to over 15,000 pairs today!


Revisited on June 5, 2019 – from the actual June 28, 2008 event—part of a series celebrating Bald Eagle Challenger in his 30th Birthday Year.

American Eagle Foundation staff and Bald Eagle Challenger were guests at an impressive ceremony on June 28, 2007 to celebrate the dramatic recovery of our nation’s living symbol, the Bald Eagle. Speaking from the steps of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne announced that the Bald Eagle was being removed from the Endangered and Threatened Species List.

Kempthorne emphasized the ongoing commitment of the Interior Department and the entire federal government to the eagle’s continued success, noting that Bald Eagles will continue to be protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Both federal laws prohibit “taking” — killing, selling or otherwise harming eagles, their nests or eggs.

“After years of careful study, public comment and planning, the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are confident in the future security of the American Bald Eagle,” Kempthorne said. “From this point forward, we will work to ensure that the eagle never again needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act.”

A highlight of the Delisting Ceremony occurred when Challenger soared majestically over the crowd gathered at the steps of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.

Symbolizing our Nation, Challenger the Bald Eagle takes to the sky at the Delisting Ceremony.

Two highlight videos follow.

Eagles Still Need Our Help

Since that day in 2007, the Bald Eagle population throughout the United States has made significant advances, with current estimates of more than 15,000 Bald Eagle pairs in the lower 48 states. However, the Bald Eagle still faces many problems—wind turbines, electrocution from power lines, human encroachment into natural habitats, lead poisoning from fishing tackle and ammunition—as well as diseases such as West Nile Virus.

The American Eagle Foundation is focused on educating the public to do all they can to protect wildlife and their habitats. Challenger has been the face of the AEF—and a symbol for Bald Eagle conservation.